Promotion of women in business
In Central Asia, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often have poor development opportunities. In addition, there is a large gap in access to finance and to skills and employment, especially for women. These structural deficits prevent women-led SMEs from realising their economic potential. In particular, lack of access to finance is a major obstacle to development and growth for women-owned businesses. The lack of adequate finance tailored to the specific needs of SMEs, combined with fewer opportunities for women to gain management experience and a traditional lack of encouragement for women by society and environment to enter into business activities, mean that these enterprises are mostly confined to low value-added and low-productivity sectors.
The EBRD has designed the Central Asia Women in Business Programme with the objective to promote and support women’s entrepreneurship in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and more broadly, women’s participation in business by raising gender awareness in financial institutions and assisting women-led SMEs to access finance, know-how and advice. "Women in Business" are to be promoted through education, training and the granting of loans in the project countries. This will build on the experience gained in Tajikistan, where a similar EBRD project has been implemented by German Sparkassenstiftung since mid-2017 and many innovations occurring also through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in digitalizing training formats and project work.
Sparkassenstiftung (Lead) together with its partner IPC implements the project in Central Asia.
- Analysis of financial institutions with respect to their suitability to render services to small and medium-sized women-led enterprises
- Design and development of suitable organisational structures, business models and strategies
- Processes supporting financial institutions to introduce, pursue respectively extend efficient lending schemes for the target group
- Execution of encompassing capacity-building measures – training and coaching in gender sensitization analysis of financial institutions with respect to their suitability to render services to small and medium-sized women-led enterprises
- Development of internal training capacities
- Development of lending products comprising a large share of financial and economic education for women